Shopping for a Mattress: A Comprehensive Guide
Whether you're a first-time buyer or you're replacing your old mattress, finding the perfect bed might seem like an uphill task. There's no "one size fits all" mattress, so it requires a little bit of effort to find the perfect fit for you. However, the process can be quite rewarding if you know how to go about it. Here are some insightful tips to make your mattress shopping a breeze.
Exploring Mattress Shopping Options
Online Shopping: This option provides unrivaled convenience. With a simple click, you can explore a vast selection of mattresses from the comfort of your home. Online shopping enables you to compare different brands, styles, and prices without stepping out of your door. Most online stores provide detailed product descriptions and customer reviews, which can be instrumental in your decision-making process.
Physical Stores: Physical mattress stores offer the unique benefit of trying out a mattress before buying it, an experience hard to replicate online. You can assess the mattress's firmness and comfort levels, all under the guidance of trained store personnel. However, a brief trial in a store might not adequately capture how the mattress will feel after a full night's sleep.
The Importance of Real Customer Reviews
Customer reviews can offer you a real-world insight into a mattress’s performance. While marketing materials may highlight the mattress's features and benefits, it's only actual users who can tell you about the pros and cons. Look out for factors like comfort, firmness, motion isolation, and durability in the reviews. Remember, comfort is subjective; what works for others might not necessarily work for you.
Taking Advantage of Trial Periods
Many mattress companies offer trial periods — LA Mattress Store offers 120-night comfort trial. This allows you to test the mattress in your home and, if it doesn't meet your expectations, you can exchange it for another mattress. Trial periods minimize the risk of buying a mattress, especially online, and enable you to test it more thoroughly than a quick in-store trial.
Understanding Your Mattress Needs
It's crucial to know what you need in a mattress. Consider your sleeping position — side sleepers generally need a softer mattress, while back and stomach sleepers might prefer something firmer. If you experience back, hip, or shoulder pain, look for a mattress that offers targeted pain relief. Factor in your material preference (like memory foam, latex, or hybrid), temperature regulation needs, edge support, and more. Additionally, consider any allergies or sensitivities you may have.
Don't worry if you're feeling overwhelmed right now. In the next section, we'll delve into the crucial factors to consider when selecting a mattress, helping you find the perfect fit.
What is the Best Mattress?
This is a common question with a complex answer. The "best" mattress ultimately depends on your individual needs, preferences, and circumstances. It's the one that offers the right level of comfort and support for your body type and sleep habits, without compromising on quality or exceeding your budget. Essentially, the "best" mattress is the one you're most comfortable with — and that varies for everyone.
Key Factors to Consider in a Mattress
Motion Isolation: This refers to a mattress's ability to limit movement transfer across the bed — a crucial factor if you share a bed with a partner. A mattress with excellent motion isolation can prevent your sleep from being disturbed by your partner's movements. You can test this out in a store or look for information in online reviews.
Pressure Relief: This is how well a mattress distributes your body weight evenly, preventing pressure points from forming in areas like your hips, shoulders, and lower back.
Mattress Buying Guide: Key Features to Consider for Comfortable Sleep
Whether you're an active sleeper who changes positions often, someone with mobility issues, or if you're simply concerned about getting a restful night's sleep, several factors come into play when choosing a mattress. Let's explore these important considerations.
Considerations for Ease of Movement
Ease of Movement refers to how responsive or easy it is to move around on the mattress. It is especially important for seniors or individuals with mobility issues, or if you frequently change positions during sleep.
To test this aspect, try sitting up, rolling over, or getting out of bed while lying on the mattress. If these movements are challenging, the mattress may not be suitable for you. Preference for certain materials plays a role here, as some materials might restrict movement.
The Importance of Edge Support
Edge Support is the ability of a mattress to maintain its structure even when weight is applied to its edges. A mattress with good edge support lets you sit or sleep near the edge without feeling unstable.
To test this, try sitting or lying down near the edge of the mattress. If you feel like you're about to slide off, the mattress likely has poor edge support. This is especially crucial for larger individuals or those who share their bed with a partner.
Temperature Control for Optimal Comfort
Temperature Control becomes an important factor if you tend to sleep hot or live in a warmer climate. A mattress with good temperature control can regulate heat, wick away moisture, and keep you comfortable throughout the night. Some materials, like traditional memory foam, are known to retain heat.
During shopping, look out for mattresses with cooling technologies such as gel-infused foam or breathable covers. In a store, you can physically feel the mattress to assess if it stays cool to the touch.
Durability for Long-Term Comfort
Durability is how well a mattress maintains its shape, structure, and material quality over time. As mattresses are significant investments, it's important to choose one that will retain its support and comfort for many years without sagging or developing indentations.
It's challenging to assess durability during a brief in-store trial or an online purchase. The best approach is to opt for reputable mattress brands with long warranties and check reviews from long-term users.
Understanding Different Mattress Types
Memory Foam: These are known for their body-conforming properties, pressure point relief, and support. Some also incorporate cooling gel or copper infusions for temperature regulation. They generally last about 7 to 10 years, although the lifespan can vary with care and foam quality.
- Excellent pressure relief and support
- Great motion isolation for couples
- Suitable for a wide range of sleep positions
- May retain heat
- Some sleepers dislike the sinking feeling
- Can impede movement due to the contouring effect
Innerspring: Traditional mattresses relying on metal springs for support. These mattresses also have a comfort layer of foam or other materials for additional cushioning. They typically last about 5-7 years, but lifespan varies with material quality.
- Generally more affordable
- Good support and bounce
- Doesn’t retain heat
- May not provide sufficient pressure relief
- Can be noisy due to springs
- Offers less motion isolation
Hybrid: Combines elements from other mattress types, usually having a supportive coil base with one or two layers of foam or other materials for comfort. Lifespan averages around 7-10 years, depending on the quality of materials and construction.
- Balance of support and pressure relief
- Good motion isolation for couples
- Excellent temperature regulation
- Can be expensive
- Heavy and difficult to move
- Some sleepers may not like the balanced feel
Latex: Made from natural or synthetic rubber, these mattresses offer contouring similar to memory foam but are more responsive and bouncy. They are some of the most durable mattresses with a typical lifespan of around 8 to 12 years or more with good care.
- Long lifespan and excellent durability
- Good balance of support and pressure relief
- Naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites and mold
- Can be expensive, especially natural and organic ones
- May feel too firm for some sleepers
- Some people may be allergic to latex
Choosing the Right Mattress Firmness
The firmness of a mattress is a key consideration when shopping, as it significantly affects your comfort and support level. The ideal firmness should cater to your body type and sleeping position to ensure a restful night's sleep. While personal preference plays a part, this shouldn't compromise on the necessary support for your body.
When it comes to back sleepers, the ideal mattress needs to strike the right balance between comfort and support. This means choosing a mattress that falls within the medium-firm to firm spectrum. This level of firmness offers the necessary support to keep the spine in alignment, whilst also providing enough cushioning to the lower back to prevent excessive sinking which could lead to discomfort and pain.
- Memory Foam Mattresses: They adapt to the body's shape and provide relief for common pressure points, making them a good option for back sleepers.
- Latex Mattresses: Latex mattresses offer similar benefits to memory foam ones but with a more responsive feel.
- Hybrid Mattresses: If cooling is a priority, hybrid mattresses could be a suitable choice. They offer a similar level of support and comfort as memory foam and latex mattresses but also come with the breathability of coils.
It's important to remember that weight plays a significant role in determining the best mattress for you. Lightweight back sleepers will likely find a medium mattress more comfortable, whilst heavier back sleepers might require a firmer mattress to prevent excessive sinking.
Side sleepers often prefer mattresses that are medium to medium-soft. The main pressure points for side sleepers are the shoulders and hips, which is why these mattresses provide ample cushioning in these areas. A mattress that's too firm may cause discomfort and result in shoulder or hip pain, negatively impacting sleep quality. Conversely, a mattress that's too soft might not offer the necessary support for the back, leading to spinal misalignment.
- Memory Foam Mattresses: They offer excellent pressure relief whilst closely contouring to the body's natural curves, making them suitable for most side sleepers.
- Hybrid Mattresses: They combine the bounce and support of coils with the pressure-relieving comfort of foam or latex on top, which can be beneficial for side sleepers.
Stomach sleepers require firmer mattresses to support their hips and prevent them from sinking too low, causing spinal misalignment. The torso carries a significant amount of body weight, so a mattress that's too soft could cause discomfort and pain. A medium-firm to firm mattress can provide the necessary support to maintain healthy spine alignment.
- Innerspring Mattresses: They offer solid support with a bit of conforming for comfort, making them a good choice for stomach sleepers.
- Hybrid Mattresses: These are also a suitable choice as they offer a similar level of support to innerspring mattresses but come with the added comfort of foam or latex.
Again, weight is an important factor to consider. Heavier stomach sleepers may need a firmer mattress for adequate support, while lighter individuals might find comfort on a medium-firm mattress.
People With Shoulder Pain
Those experiencing shoulder pain might find a medium-soft to medium-firm mattress to be the most comfortable. These individuals need a mattress that provides excellent pressure relief to cushion the shoulder area and alleviate pressure points. Mattresses that are too firm should be avoided as they may exacerbate shoulder pain, particularly if you tend to sleep on your side.
- Memory Foam Mattresses: They excel at relieving shoulder pain due to their pressure-relieving comfort layers and excellent body-contouring capabilities.
- Hybrid Mattresses: These could also be a good choice for those with shoulder pain, as they often have pressure-relieving comfort layers similar to memory foam mattresses.
People With Back Pain
A medium-firm mattress that provides a good balance of support and comfort can be beneficial for most people with back pain. This level of firmness promotes a healthy neutral spine alignment and offers good pressure relief, preventing pressure build-up in the lower back region. A mattress that's too soft might lack the necessary support for proper spine alignment, whilst one that's too firm could lead to pressure build-up and increased back pain.
Your sleeping position is an important factor to consider when choosing a mattress. Side sleepers might need a slightly softer mattress, while back and stomach sleepers usually require a firmer mattress.
- Memory Foam Mattresses: These can be suitable for people with back pain due to their body-contouring and pressure-relieving qualities.
- Latex Mattresses: They can offer a similar level of comfort and support as memory foam mattresses but with a more responsive feel.
- Hybrid Mattresses: These are also suitable if they have the right balance of firmness and comfort.
People With Hip Pain
People with hip pain require a mattress that offers excellent pressure relief for pressure points in the hip region. A medium to medium-firm mattress often works well as it provides the necessary support while also cushioning the hips to relieve pressure.
- Memory Foam Mattresses: These mattresses can conform closely to the body, cushioning the hips and promoting spinal alignment.
- Latex Mattresses: They can offer similar benefits to memory foam mattresses but with a more responsive feel.
- Hybrid Mattresses: These can also work well for those with hip pain if they have a thick, pressure-relieving comfort layer.
Your sleeping position and weight are essential factors to consider. Side sleepers and lighter individuals might prefer a slightly softer mattress, while back and stomach sleepers and heavier individuals might need a firmer one.
Lightweight Sleepers (Below 130 lbs)
Due to their lighter weight, these sleepers don't sink too much into the bed, so they are best suited to softer mattresses that fall within the medium-soft to medium range. A mattress that's too firm won't relieve pressure points properly, potentially leading to discomfort and pain.
The type of mattress for lightweight sleepers depends on their preferences and needs, but generally, side sleepers may prefer a soft to medium-soft mattress, while back and stomach sleepers may require a medium-soft to medium mattress.
Average-weight Sleepers (Between 130 – 230 lbs)
Most mattresses are designed to cater to average-weight sleepers, so they probably won't face too many difficulties when shopping for one. Generally, they'll sleep comfortably on medium to medium-firm mattresses that strike a balance between support and comfort.
Any type of mattress—memory foam, latex, hybrid, or innerspring—can work well for average-weight sleepers, provided it has the right firmness level. The choice between these types usually comes down to personal preference and specific needs.
Heavyweight Sleepers (Above 230 lbs)
Heavyweight sleepers exert more pressure on the mattress, so they require a firm mattress that can support their weight to prevent excessive sinking and maintain good spinal alignment. Medium-firm to firm mattresses with thick profiles (more than 10”) or strong support systems are recommended.
In addition to support, heavyweight sleepers should look for a mattress that provides adequate pressure relief, depending on their sleeping position. A mattress that's too firm may lead to pressure points and discomfort, so a delicate balance between firmness for support and softness for comfort is necessary. Reinforced edges can also prevent sagging and make it easier to get in and out of bed.
- Innerspring Mattresses: They have supportive and durable coil layers suitable for heavier folks. They also offer cooling for heavyweight sleepers who tend to sleep hotter than others.
- Hybrid Mattresses: These offer a similar level of support to innerspring mattresses but with the added comfort of foam or latex.
- High-density Foam and Latex Mattresses: These can also be suitable as long as they're on the firmer side.
How Much Should You Spend on a Mattress?
Deciding on how much to spend on a mattress can be quite daunting, given the extensive range of options available in the market. Mattress prices can fluctuate wildly, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. It's common to believe that the best mattress is always the most expensive one; however, that's not necessarily true. It's possible to find a high-quality mattress that meets your specific needs without burning a hole in your pocket. To achieve this, it's crucial to establish a budget for your mattress and refine your search to mattresses within that price bracket.
Before we delve into the typical price ranges for mattresses, it's essential to bear in mind some considerations while deciding your budget.
Assess Your Needs: The perfect mattress for you is one that meets your specific requirements. These might include your sleeping position preference, any physical discomfort or pains you might experience, your body weight, whether you tend to sleep hot or cold, and so on.
Account for Health Concerns: If you have specific health issues, such as chronic back pain or allergies, it might be worthwhile to invest more in a mattress designed to address these problems.
Consider Durability: While more durable mattresses might seem more expensive initially, they tend to last longer, saving you money in the long term.
Check for Warranty: A reputable brand offering an extensive warranty can offer you peace of mind and is often worth spending a bit extra for. This warranty will serve to protect your investment in your mattress.
Price Doesn’t Always Equate to Quality: Many shoppers mistakenly equate a higher price tag with higher quality. The most expensive mattress is not necessarily the best one, and thorough research can help you find the best value for your money.
With these considerations in mind, let's explore the typical price ranges for mattresses and what you can expect within each range.
Cheap Mattresses ($100 to $500):
At this price range, you'll predominantly find basic innerspring and memory foam mattresses. These models are usually of simple design and constructed with regular materials, lacking any additional features. Consequently, their lifespan and comfort level may not be as satisfactory as their pricier counterparts. However, if you're shopping for a guest room, a child's room, or temporary use, these mattresses can be budget-friendly and adequate.
It's crucial to remember that a mattress at this price point may not be as long-lasting. This is because cheaper mattresses often utilize lower-quality materials that aren't as durable as those used in more expensive ones. Cheap mattresses may also have thinner profiles, leading to thinner comfort layers, which might compromise the level of comfort as you could feel the support layers underneath.
Affordable Mattresses ($500 to $1,000):
In this price range, you will notice an improvement in the quality of materials and design. Mattresses within this price bracket use better-quality foam or more robust innerspring systems, potentially offering better comfort and support.
Nonetheless, these mattresses lack the premium features that come with higher-end models. However, there are some good "bed in a box" mattresses available in this range that can provide solid performance, striking a balance of comfort, support, pressure relief, and durability at an affordable price.
Average-Priced Mattresses ($1,000 to $2,000):
This range is where you begin to see mattresses built with higher-end materials, more sophisticated designs, and additional features. For example, mattresses in this price range often incorporate high-density memory foam, pocketed coils, extra cooling features, and more.
In addition to offering superior durability, these average-priced mattresses strike a balance between quality and price, making them popular choices for the average consumer.
Premium or Luxury Mattresses ($2,000 and above):
Starting at around $2,000, premium or luxury mattresses can cost several thousand dollars. At this price point, expect mattresses constructed with the highest quality materials and the most sophisticated designs. These may include organic latex, luxury memory foam, advanced cooling systems, and unique coil systems.
These luxury mattresses often have the longest lifespan and come with extensive warranties. They're designed to offer the ultimate in comfort and support and often include features tailored to specific sleep needs, such as targeted support for pain relief or advanced cooling for hot sleepers.
Aside from these price ranges, there are other factors to consider when shopping for a mattress to ensure you're getting good value for your money. These include the sleep trial, warranty, shipping, return policy, and customer service support.
A sleep trial is a period during which you can test a new mattress at home to ensure it meets your needs and expectations. This trial is for 120-nights if the mattress doesn't meet your needs or expectations before the end of the sleep trial, you can exchange it for one you do like.
It takes time for our bodies to adjust to a new mattress, so spending a few weeks with a new mattress will give you a better understanding of whether it is the right fit for you.
A warranty is the manufacturer's promise to repair or replace your mattress if it has any defects. Warranties can last from a few years to a lifetime, typically covering defects such as sagging, manufacturing flaws, broken coil wires, and more. A solid warranty implies confidence in the product on the part of the manufacturer.
Shipping refers to the method and cost of getting the mattress from the warehouse to your home. Most mattress companies offer free shipping, while others charge a fee. The shipping terms can significantly affect the total cost of your purchase.
Customer Service Support
Customer service support refers to how a company assists its customers before, during, and after their purchase. A company with excellent customer service can make your mattress buying and ownership experience significantly more pleasant.
In conclusion, the amount you should spend on a mattress depends on your specific needs and budget. Understanding the different price ranges and factors to consider can help you make a more informed decision and ensure that you're getting the best value for your money.
When is the Ideal Time to Purchase a Mattress?
When it comes to buying a mattress, timing is essential. The perfect time can enable you to avail the best offers, maximizing your investment in a good night's sleep. Below are the best times to purchase a mattress.
Holidays provide an excellent opportunity to grab some of the best mattress deals. Retailers reduce their prices considerably during this period, recognizing the shoppers' readiness to find gifts or secure great deals during their time off work.
Significant holidays like Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Black Friday are particularly notorious for fantastic mattress deals. During these sales, expect discounts of up to 20-30%, freebies accompanying mattress purchases, and packaged deals inclusive of pillows and sheets.
Tips for Holiday Shopping:
- Start your research early to acquaint yourself with the regular prices. This way, you can identify a great deal when it comes along.
- Be sure to read the fine print. Some sales might have exceptions or require a minimum spend.
- Compare prices across various retailers. Sometimes a store might offer a better deal than the mattress company itself.
- Don’t limit yourself to physical stores. Many online mattress companies also offer holiday sales.
Before the Introduction of New Products (May)
Mattress companies typically introduce new products in June. As such, May becomes a hot spot for sales as these companies attempt to clear out the old inventory to make room for the new models. This period often provides significant discounts, sometimes even on top-rated mattresses.
Tips for May Sales:
- Don’t feel pressured to buy the latest model. The older models can still perform well compared to the new model.
- Do your research to ensure the discounted mattress fits your needs.
- Check the return policies. If the mattress is on clearance, ensure returns are still accepted.
- Consider purchasing floor models, which are the mattresses on display. These can be heavily discounted and are usually in excellent condition.
Many mattress companies run their sales, irrespective of a specific holiday or event. These can be clearance sales, anniversary sales, or simply random promotions to boost sales. Companies may offer discounts, free items with purchase, or even free upgrades to a better model.
Shopping tips for LA Mattress Store sales:
- Sign up for email newsletters from mattress companies. They usually send sale alerts to their mailing list first and sometimes even offer exclusive discounts.
- Follow LA Mattress Store on social media. Many times, they announce sales on their social media channels.
- Check out LA Mattress Stores website regularly. Sales are often prominently advertised on their home page.
- Consider reaching out to customer service. They might have information on upcoming sales or even exclusive discounts.
Online vs. In-Store Mattress Buying
The digital age has significantly transformed shopping, allowing us to conveniently search and buy things online with a few simple clicks. However, while some buyers appreciate the convenience of online shopping, others prefer the traditional experience of buying in-store. Each method has its advantages and drawbacks.
- Convenience: You can shop from the comfort of your home, on your phone or computer, at any time.
- No sales pressure: You can take your time to research and compare products without the pressure of a salesperson.
- Wider variety of options: You have access to a wider array of brands and models online.
- Better prices: Online mattress companies often have lower overhead costs, which can result in lower prices for customers.
- Easy comparisons: You can easily compare different brands, models, and prices on the Internet.
- Customer reviews: Online reviews provide valuable insights from actual users. Reputable mattress review sites can also provide more info.
- Can’t try before you buy: Unlike in physical stores, you can't touch or lie down on a mattress to test its comfort and support before purchasing.
- Waiting for delivery: You’ll have to wait for the mattress to be delivered. However, some companies offer same-day delivery.
- Potential for scams: Be cautious of scam websites selling non-existent mattresses. Verify you’re buying from a reputable source.
- Shipping issues: Delays or damages may occur during delivery due to reliance on shipping companies.
- Returns can be a hassle: Although many companies offer free returns, packaging and returning a mattress can be a hassle.
- Information overload: The wide range of mattress options can be overwhelming if you don't know what to look for.
- Try before you buy: You can touch and lie down on the mattress and gauge its comfort and support level.
- Personal assistance: Knowledgeable salespeople in mattress stores can guide you through the buying process and provide recommendations.
- Immediate availability: If the mattress is in stock, you can usually take it home the same day.
- Less hassle in returns: If you need to return a mattress, it’s often easier to do it at a physical store.
- In-store financing options: Some stores offer financing options, like installment plans, which might not be available online.
- Limited selection: Stores carry fewer brands and models than you can find online.
- Higher prices: Physical stores have higher overhead costs, which may be reflected in their prices.
- Sales pressure: The presence of a salesperson might be stressful or intrusive for some people.
- Time-consuming: Visiting multiple stores to compare different brands and models can be time-consuming.
- Store hours: You’re limited to shopping during the store’s operating hours.
- Transportation: If you don't have a vehicle, getting your new mattress home could be challenging.
Congratulations! You're now well-equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision on your new mattress. While shopping for a mattress is a complex task, it's a worthwhile endeavor, given the significant impact your mattress has on your health and overall quality of life. Regardless of whether you buy online or in-store, prefer memory foam or latex, or need a soft or firm feel, there's a perfect mattress out there for you. It just requires a bit of research. Good luck!
Mattress Buying Guides by Age and Lifestyle
As we age and enter new life stages, our sleep, and what we need to secure that sleep, evolves. Our bodies change, our lifestyle shifts, and consequently, our needs in a mattress alter to accommodate those changes. For the best mattress suited to your age and lifestyle, see the following guides.